Monday, June 05, 2006

Sunshine zaps dust mites!

Today was one of those days when the horizon seems dauntingly far away, it’s easier to set my sights low and concentrate on soothing, domestic tasks that, though monotonous, are not too challenging, on another day they wouldn’t make the grade as escapist activity..but hey at least I’m getting something done.

Today then is the perfect day to drag mattresses, pillows and duvets out onto the stoep to air in the sun for the morning. A while back, I read somewhere that direct sunshine is the best way to get rid of dust mites in bedding. My son isn’t severely asthmatic but he does get chesty, and needs an inhaler escpecially around winter colds or if an allergy has closed up his chest, so worrying about dust mites is an optional extra – a precaution rather than a necessity.

This solution appeals to me – low-tech, no cost, no chemicals and today there is abundant winter sunshine, so I set about hauling the children’s bedroom out onto the stoep, festooning the washing line with the blankets, heaping pillows on the swing chair, leaning mattresses against the walls. The sheets come out of the washing machine and join the party.

Now to discover what is lurking under the daughter was convinced that she heard a snake under her bed this morning, not an impossibility here, but it would have been a first for our house. Only when I had flashed a torch underneath and promised there was no such thing was she persuaded to come and get dressed. Further investigation reveals that it could have been the rustling of plastic bags she heard, of which there are a few, accompanied by some of the missing socks, mysterious parts of small plastic toys, dust, fluff and the rest.

By the end of the morning the children’s bedroom is pristine. I wonder if there is the equivalent of hairspray, or varnish that I could spray over it to keep it like that for longer. Preserved in aspic. I know that within two minutes of arriving home from school, it will resume its more comfortable lived-in look.

Raising my eyes to the horizon, it is still a mile off, but at least I have polished my domestic halo and can now indulge in some legitimate escapism, reclining on the sofa with a novel for a while – letting the bread rise by itself, the children play by themselves and waiting for the planets to realign themselves into a more favourable position for conquering the world!


  1. Hairspray, that was a clever word to use! If it works please tell me!
    By the way...snakes freak me out! I am glad to hear it was just dust bunnies and a plastic bag!!

  2. You've made cleaning a child's room into a poetic experience. If I only could be so inspired...sigh.

  3. Hmmm, I have asthma, so I'll have to try that. Unfortunately I live in a very rainy climate, so I won't have many opportunities.

    I need to clean my kids' rooms too. I always let their rooms get really awful before I clean them because I know they'll just tear them up as soon as I'm done with them. I was hoping when they get old enough to go to school that would get better, but I guess not, eh?

  4. Inspiration only hits very occasionally - sometimes I try to involve the children in the clear-up but that's even harder work. My eight year old does show some signs of incipient tidiness. making his own bed etc but gets fed up with doing his younger sisters' share. Maybe when he gets to have his own room he'll keep it tidy...not betting on it though!


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